Page 1


Managing Editor Marianne Laury


Kelsey Anderson, Ashley Bellinger, Patrick Drake, Anna Kamerer, Jordan Kern, William Meier, Melaney Mitchell, Andy Ozier, Julie Sikonski, Lauren Stookey, Wendy Vong

Faculty Editor

Jordan Stempleman

Sprung Formal is a literary arts journal published annually in association with the school of liberal arts at the Kansas City Art Institute. Since 2005, Sprung Formal has been a student edited and produced literary magazine. We pride ourselves on combining professional content with professional grade student work TO SEE WHAT WE’VE DONE IN THE PAST PLEASE VISIT WWW.SPRUNGFORMAL.WORPRESS.COM

SPRUNGFORMAL spring 2012

issue #07 contents

08 APOCALYPSE Rob MacDonald 09 IN LOVE WITH THE SOUND Matt Hart 10 WINNING Brandon Brown 11 FROM SUICIDE MOUNTAIN 1 Matthew Suss 12

CRACKER Reid Sprague

13 THE QUILT Teal Wilson 14 IN THE MUD, IN HER ARMS Ryan MacDonald 15 THE TRENCH Joshua Marie Wilkinson 16 PORTRAIT 4 Marisa de la Pena 17 MILK WAVE Christie Ann Reynolds 18 FROM SUICIDE MOUNTAIN 2 Matthew Suss 19 THE RANCH Will Meier 20

FROM FAIR JOB Benjamin Boulier

22 SUMO II Annie Raab 23 BODY Lauren Stookey 24 BROTHERS Jules Itzkoff 25

TWO POEMS Elisabeth Workman



30 FIRST FROST Paige Taggart 31



BRANDO Brandon Brown






THE SIMILE Maureen Thorson


SKY BURIAL PART 1 John Northington


SKY BURIAL PART 2 John Northington


HER BOOTY OR SOMETHING Mitchell Hugh Kirkwood


APARTMENT 223 Frederick Vorder-Bruegge




NATURE Christopher Martin










UNION EXTENDED Frederick Vorder-Bruegge

50 BUT LOSE THE FEELING Scott Sweeney 52

QALQILYA ZOO //2012 Frances Odim-Loughlin














ARNOLD Madeline Gallucci







Sprung Formal staff would like to thank Phylis Moore, Illona Bernard, M Press, & La Cucaracha Press

Rob MacDonald


An apocalypse looks like a chupacabra, but smaller. You’ll know that an apocalypse is on the way when you smell body spray. An apocalypse will happen immediately after the special musical guest sings her second song. About an apocalypse, they sometimes say this: in like a Christian, out like a lion. This Christmas, it will be tough to find an apocalypse in a big box store, but cheap substitutes will fill every aisle. Do not feed an apocalypse after midnight. If you catch an apocalypse, take an oatmeal bath to soothe yourself. Texas looks like an apocalypse, but bigger. Apocalypse has six syllables—two are silent. When the world does decide it’s time to end, we’ll need all the big words we can find.

08 09

Matt Hart


It starts with jackhammers and the good vibrations are everywhere, though there’s not a beach for a million years, nor any place near in the fog of here Been up all night worrying under haze of beer and a tender slice of rabbit, a slice of its stupid and buttery little heart I ate it up anyway without even a thought I miss you so much I am plainly beat up And now I hear myself telling you that there are people among us who feel the need to dismantle all the organs, to tear the happy ports and the moments apart Of other people, they know nothing They know only their own reflections mingled in the mangled inner circle of the party, and they know exactly their relationship to every other body in the room They have a cocktail in their paws, and it’s the newest greenest one They present a revision of oranges and little fishes or they present a series of arguments They are at the center They are so refrigerator They are Scylla and Charybdis They are taking us to school I do not like school And when they open their vaults, when they take off their clothes, the self-consciousness dribbles out on the floor with their shoes I have been in that position too Yes, it’s embarrassing But I am in fact embarrassing Better to be embarrassing than never to feel a single thing And you are still intractable with all your righteous love Let the hating haters fall to their knees It ends with jackhammers and lions

Brandon Brown


In a sense we’re all winning—Frank O’Hara

I often think I was born to win. And then a drug-addled demigod named Charlie Sheen tagged his every action with the very activity (winning) which was supposed to be my own. I don’t even want to win. I want to tamp labials, lick and stick. I want tongue bruises. I want to upturn the table and watch little pewter pieces fly. I don’t want to put out the eyes of my competitors. I want to put “competitors” out of my eyes! I want to play, I just don’t want to win, even if I was born for it. All those sperm in the 1970’s, little nasty fuckers all trying to outplant each other. So I guess we’re all ReaganRocky hybrids trying to get our arms hoisted. I was too depressed to join all my friends as they prevented the night shift of the 5th busiest shipping port in the United States from admitting and exmitting commodities. Instead I went home and watched a man on t.v. shit in his pants while playing a video game. He wanted that so badly not to lose. The intensity of his determination in contrast to my own impotence made my fail feel Homeric. I looked out the window for a number of hours. It was Day of the Dead. Foamy gringos staggered far from the noise of the conquered port. Maybe I was just fit to win, not born for it. My diaper never cleaner. I resigned and there was no euphemy. On the hollowest, losingest night of my life, elemental gringos rutting in zinc. That’s how I taste the sweat of my forehead and the deranged cellular calzone it smothers. It’s like trunking a scabbard. It’s like laughing at the refrain of “game over” when you know your satchel’s full of silver continuance. Oh god it’s good to. Oh god it’s Good to and. Oh god it’s good to and and to spit it up. And eat the spit. And shit and eat shit and wake up and so much.

10 11

Matthew Suss


God shits the blackest rainbow. The world is the end of the world. Any sense of resolution is imperfect & befucked. Tie the babysitter to the vibrating blackboard. I’m going on a satanic nature walk. All my prayers are threats, all my threats are good. Some people fake their deaths. I’m faking my life. God uses the planets as anal beads. Would you come to my funeral tonight for a dollar? It feels like I’m dripping down a very large flower. This could be it. This could be the best day ever. The stars are of mescal. The moonlight is like a vampire canoeing in the moonlight. Somewhere a wall is becoming a werewall.

Reid Sprague


12 13

Teal Wilson


Pointing at the pictorial plane. Pointing at the pictorial plane that is fooling her into thinking it is deep space. Seeing the shape of Australia in almost all abstract art. Seeing the shape of Arkansas when you don’t even know what Arkansas looks like. I didn’t want you to leave when I told you I needed to walk the dog, but you took it wrong and now your probably buying cigarettes and now you are thinking about going home. I walk too fast for company anyway. My fingers and toes are too long so I bite my nails real short. I wish I had toes like her and her. I never actually enjoy flip flop season and the beach is difficult to navigate with socks. Two people are talking about their colds. Neither sounds fun, but she definitely has it worse. She wins with the cough that keeps her up all night. This one is doing this, this one is doing this, this one is doing this. Is this an argument? I could’ve sworn we were saying the same thing. I haven’t raised my voice like that in a long time, like how mothers do with children out of their reach, children out of their eyesight, afraid of losing something they are very angry with, but I do love you and this argument is just fantastic. I tell you it’s snowing. You look out the window and we both imagine ourselves in beds with snow existing around us and we sleep like we haven’t in a long time. Do you remember the time someone dropped a quilt in the hot tub? I scooped it up like an injured kid on the soccer field. We fought because you looked at me like I was an idiot, but I knew that quilt was never going to be the same. You brought me a hair dryer, I shook my head. Do you remember how heavy it was when we brought it back into the house and hung it over the shower curtain? You tell me you wish you could bring me a McGriddle before work. I don’t usually eat breakfast and pancakes are my least favorite, but it’s a nice gesture. Pour syrup on the quilt. Let it go. You won’t put it back on your bed anyway. Pour syrup on the quilt and hope it was able to appreciate its life through the philosophy of death. We pour syrup on the quilt, your grandmother standing in the hall with the rug, eyes all agape and fingers all knotty like ginger roots at her sides.

Ryan MacDonald


I shot the animal near the river. It struggled for some time, whining and twisting in the mud. I had bought the animal at an auction. The animal was ugly but inexpensive. My sister really loved the animal. My sister loved to ride the animal, though she was probably too big for it. The animal once ate my favorite pair of pants. Just took the pants in its big mouth and ate them. It’s not that I hate the animal. It’s not that the animal has done me wrong, has done anything an animal shouldn’t do. Sure, the animal smelled bad; sure it ate things that did not belong to the animal. I do not blame the animal for what it was. It was only an animal after all. Now the animal is dead in the mud and I am the one who shot it. If my sister should see this, see the animal dead in the mud like this, she will probably cry. My sister will probably hold the animal, in the mud, in her arms, and cry. I do not want my sister to see that I have shot the animal. I do not want my sister to see me standing here by the river, see me standing here in my wading boots, with my rifle, with my fake mustache and my basket of rabbits. Now that the animal is dead, I can go about my business, now that the animal is dead.

14 15

Joshua Marie Wilkinson


Out late along the trench’s fortieth unfolding father’s weapons were encamped as passing out to daughters’ songs like meth were loud enough to leech from those unclamped and dutifully tied to ventricles unhidden in the balmy loam of light though rockets pale and will recede to kill what won’t uncarve just what we’ve hewn tonight however skilled however shot to play just what you said unshook above and starts as though the word could know its noise to bray with what we squeeze inside the needle’s dart repelling those we wished instead to free and those we left to roofs the ones we fled.

Marisa de la Pena

PORTRAIT 4 16 17

Christie Ann Reynolds


What we want is to learn more about war what we want is to learn more About what it takes to defeat a society dependent on milk We can learn so much more about how to survive: Study the blueprints to an igloo ride don’t eat A cow to remain within the coda of mammalian fidelity In the Ice Age men and women wore nothing to battle

*Sometimes I imagine a futuristic society where war is waged over the milk of cows and people live harmoniously in nudity because that is how we were born.

Matthew Suss


I smoke crack because I’m Satan. I cough up rubies for my real friends. There’s that tree that turns me on. People are raining from the sky. The sky looks like our mother. We flip through our coffins at God. Memory spits mesmeric slugs money sacks manufactured sucking monkey skulls meaningless. A flower bursts in my head speaking in a fever tone. I can take seventeen snakes up the ass. That crazy lily is going to kill us. When good people die they become worms. Throw back carcasses stuffed with angels.

18 19

Will Meier


We pretended not to notice The acrid smoke stench for a minute or two, Before cracking the windows to inhale roaring winds: Fresh and brisk, cooling stung lungs. Confusing. Another few passed and it came to our attention­— That my cheap sleeping bag Was by now smoldered halfway to ember in the backseat. I found his butt in it later that night, Fused to the hard, charred polyester padding, Wafting reminders of its presence against my face Through the bitter-sweet, bitter-cold wind. As I pretended to be asleep, Trying to think about anything other than Cancer, I watched the death of macrocosms amidst shifting constellations, So it wouldn’t be uncomfortable: that is, The attempted threesome on the other half of the pallet, Where the nitrous and psilocybin had mixed congenially. I knew from the whispers, He couldn’t get it in her— Not that it would matter— He didn’t even know yet that she had gotten raped Earlier that month, and anyways, even if she was down, Her friend was obviously a total dyke And anyone who knows anything Knows they aren’t going to get nearly as lucky As all that. All the while, I received vague text confessions from home And just stared through tears into exponential ecologies of clouds. Just as I had fallen asleep at last, the sun rose as if on command. For the first time I could see how dead it all was all around. She asked if I wanted to shoot rifles at shit. No shit, I did, though at no shit in particular. Unable to find the artillery, we simply gave up entirely.

Benjamin Boulier


Remember, he became you­—Bank of America Identity Theft Assistance Center bitten up soft drink lid sic of course it’s a lawn mower rather back to it and my mouth been on everything here to its form. until as some dumped mantra you advance the point until rec lac bugs and spars stressed you’ve been somewhere you ask stupid questions about wooden as Paul in waiting you’ll have to get to everywhere a vacation, awaited, attempting import never recurring. taking tus like cold war trips lids in. papers absentia and maids cautioned institute shed animus in inactive ones of a family. fe(e)d the creation

greatness minimally fit in preps between floors if the euphoria – and this as a starter – of stepping into a lake were chemical.

which’s not to say the created creatures.

’s no real wear, reproducibly none, to which jobs.

finery or living in ducts in versus *

mordant (adj.) – 1) going to the kids’ in winter if sick, 2) of why anyone no one knew did anything, 3) delivering fixture in place of order wherever order is next in a file series and this fix of either. *

with any luck a slut with any luck a slut, right? exercise errata rocking chair four leg tipped too far 20 21

as recently as recently as recently another of these

purdah status of enforcement figured into which cliques

this soldier ripped my cock off then my teeth out then my butt got bayoneted then some salt my limbs shot up an emaciated troupe vomited onto a milk cow whose throat was slit sure some ceremony where like the blood ran to where my cock’d been like ablution-as-mixture and they ask about my wife and I say I couldn’t – yes, change of tense – I couldn’t tell her apart from me so that clearly they didn’t see the cri de coeur of the festival so it sounded as spittle as talking blood and once gotten to my intestines hanged me from unsubsidized rafters I looked great. maybe a new wife. and they burned the place. this world no longer yet-to-be-more-yielding a weekend capture, dry arroyos, fat xeric tease of coy-verse-trick-revealing weakened lamp read: Koch cook book called “That”

this modicum by which luck accesses which slut and John Cheever accesses the truth of how that enforcement looks…

Annie Raab

SUMO II 22 23

Lauren Stookey


Bodybuilders are on stage. I’m watching them flex and pose and shift positions. They’re trying to out muscle each other, and it’s all very stressful. The competition keeps getting steeper every year, and show men have to jump through smaller hoops to win.

Number 12 is in the spotlight now, and I’m wondering if he has the sickness. He’s so chiseled and his skin is faux-toasted to a bronzy orange hue. I can practically smell the coconut oil. I’m wondering if he wishes he had more muscles, if he is nervous to stand in front of us in putrid green spandex and have his muscle mass judged. I’m wondering if he I’ve heard bodybuilders only can drink a thimble- feels ready for all of this pressure or if he thinks he full of water before they compete, so their veins should have eaten less salt and lifted more weights. stick out. It makes their muscles look bigger. I’ve I’m picturing the inspirational clichés shouted by a also heard that they can’t eat peanut butter, or salt, barrel-chested personal trainer in preparation for or anything that makes things taste good, really. It this moment. messes up their muscle mass. “Eyes on the prize. Eyes on the prize.” Today, fifteen or so Adonises have donned their respective neon velvet or spandex glittery speedos. Number 12 strikes a pose. He freezes in that place The modern loin cloth. They are lined up on stage for a few seconds, and I try to look at his eyes to with their chests puffed out like roosters. Their see if they are frozen too. It is impossible to tell. chins are angled up. They look so stoic. So shiny. Like action figures in spandex, rolled up in vegetable oil and placed under a bright light. “They’re not even real...” I hear a hushed voice in the crowd mutter to the girl next to her. The other girl is giggling, and probably saying something gender biased about real men. If the body builders aren’t real, maybe they can’t be nervous. If the body builders aren’t real, then we’re at a car show. We are judging bodywork. But I know that the girl behind me is wrong. Even greasy, frozen men in spandex are real. They are real, because they have disorders or do drugs or get stressed. They are real because they have skin and beneath that skin, they have blood. Sometimes I read about disorders online. Muscular Dysmorphia Disorder means no matter how many muscles you have, you keep wanting more. Muscular Dysmorphia Disorder turns too many muscles into not enough muscles. Lots of bodybuilders have it, I’m told. I guess sometimes it’s not just steroids or obsession. It’s a real disorder. A sickness.

Jules Itzkoff


24 25

Elisabeth Workman


Man-Made Catastrophe Involving Kenny Loggins Drill

Decide: Who’s the macadam? Who’s the madman? Who’s mahatma? The cops? The senator? The cameraman? Who’s the pothead? The seamen? The monster? Who’s giving it a tampon? Who’s taking the tampon and mating it with public transportation? Who’s calling it a highway? If you had to choose between a bus and a car, would you emote pants? Would steam be involved? Would the waters lap the edge of infernal cement? Would it sound like conflict? Who’s careening from the seaport in protest? Who’s poaching rotten for the recast? Who’s the dangerzone?

Bounty Hunter Safari Drill

Afterbirth everywhere. Sunbathers, banshees. A heart burns the way of unfit information. Unfit youth, frothy bears, you have to slog through it. Outrun the onus: hunt or hunted. Runtish rhino units, you have to fur and snout. You have to fuse or riot. Your horns fury hours.

Anna Kamerer


We took the wrong train to Montauk. But it was okay, because the train we were on was headed the same direction. The last stop on our train was Babylon. Catherine’s dad came to pick us up. We waited for him at a bowling alley and drank pitcher beer. David was a better bowler than we were. He bowled a turkey and was singing Billy Joel. He told me to get our scores printed. I pouted because I hate losing. The shoe rental woman printed our scores then gave me a merit badge. It said Good Sportsmanship in tiny green embroidery. My dad called while we sat on the curb waiting for Catherine’s dad. He asked me when we would get back to the city. I said Monday. He asked if I wanted to fly to Florida. I told him yes, he should book my flight to Florida for Monday. Catherine’s dad arrived in a minivan. Catherine’s dad is a preacher. He has preacher hands.

Monday night I am not quite asleep at midnight. My dad calls and I know what he is going to say. I set my alarm for 5 am and feel worse. The next morning it is still dark at LaGuardia. It is very crowded. Lots of people don’t have flights. I wait in a long line. The woman at the ticket counter tells me my flight was never rescheduled. She tells me to stop crying and refunds my ticket. I tell her she’s a bitch and should lose her job. She gives me a merit badge that says Golden Rule in tiny green embroidery.

I sleep all day. When I wake up it is very windy. They say tomorrow they’ll shut down the trains. They work today, so I take the F to Coney Island. The hot dog stands are boarded up. I walk past the deserted rides to the beach. I sit where the tide ends and look at the stormy horizon in the direction of Florida. A wave touches my toes and leaves me a At dinner I am so uncomfortable. I excuse myself merit badge. It says Alice in tiny green embroidery. and walk through the long island fog to the dock. I pin it on my vest and watch Hurricane Irene from Catherine has a nice family but they aren’t my fam- the shore. ily. I push their kayak so its nose is in the water and paddle it to the middle of the lake. I let the kayak drift in the oily night water. I can’t see the nose of the kayak through the fog. I am so scared. I wake up a sleeping duck and she quacks at me a quartersized badge. It says Be Brave in tiny green embroidery. On Monday Catherine’s mom drives us back to the city. It is raining very hard and there is more traffic going out than going in. I have a voicemail from Delta Air Lines. They say my flight on Monday has been cancelled and rescheduled for Tuesday. I call my dad and tell him so. He says she hasn’t woken up yet. On the subway my wet hair clings to my head and shoulders. A Dominican man watches me. He gives me another badge, it says Could Be Worse in tiny green embroidery.

26 27

Sampson Starkweather


space is such a shitty boss ever feel life is just waiting for the day they make a way to eat gravy or pees in a vacuum me too right essentially these tickets are for anything you want your name to replace the dark which is another way to say dress up as god a world without horizons taking the shape of pure energy waiting for form a field of fields blooming on a wooden planet with wooden birds afraid of nothing but the word fire ideas are easy what holds us back are these bodies a sack of slow goodbyes working their way through time ever notice there’s no Olympics for transcendence just a great hope for parking that doesn’t translate up here gravity has to be the best joke ever told there is nothing that is not a phobia at this distance people are either dying or dancing without a document busy bleeding through this crude cartoon or inverted dream we live in

shit what if the future already happened we all know that was your asteroid on E-bay Steve now fork over the freeze-dried ice cream and get your own gravity some subjects are inexhaustible my friend for example spends her life studying light whatever you call that god must have a degree in it not sure where I was going with that which is the beauty of being inside a poem choosing subject over object is where the trouble began and the sky ended classical snow falls so classic we call it snow hell is this getting an itch in an astronaut suit the post office on the moon is so lonely there is no frequency for its song I’ll give you a key nature is whatever you want it to be the idea is that the poem pack as much C4 in decorum as possible I like to think the big bang was two hot universes getting it on and why not seize the semester is about all I can muster Google has sent its spiders to search my heart good luck little bitches the hunt and blood money the waters sigh the tomahawk stuck in the soul the naked and brave boys running ‘round in war paint with dreams for legs 28 29

what do you know about them Google the bloody remains of the stenographer employed by my emotions who do you think taught the clouds how to cover the sky everything to circle the sun the flower to open the road to come to an end the wave to mercilessly break and begin again

Paige Taggart


The first frost came as a kind of statement a forest of frost, a forest of the stuff, there were also elk and other rare species of animals and birds and things flying and sentences dying, diving into the too cool water and chalk against the cedar but besides you already know about all this nature and those lassoes that act like haloes and those haloes that act like lassoes and trails of belongings inside schools the boy’s King Arthur, the badass crow the hawk that dive bombs the chicks, the hottest girl on the planet and the frost on her front steps, the doorbell stuck on ring and the ringer stuck ringing Friday nights collapsing into Saturdays and Saturdays dispelling Sundays where the viticulture classes are being taught and the hero is on fire in his poem and the hero being himself and the desk collapsing from all the cooks sitting on top of the atlas like the Georgia peach when you enter Georgia from wherever you are coming from and how the rabbits not so tied up in naming the place hey, fellow rabbitear come over to my piece of lettuce not lattice of the Metrodome Portland got their name out of harboring ships to their shorefronts how dope is that (?), Elevatorville inventor lived there crown the top of a carrot with an iguana and you won’t find a rabbit around Harry Potter is so minute by comparison to King Lear and don’t show your mother the icicle dick out front but the place is filled with frost and other weather formations are more engulfing.

30 31

Matthew Suss


It’s lovely down in the coffin patch. A cruel child is an unexpected pleasure. Across the river my shyness gained coherence. Light pleating the ground, oh sing into it. I crammed for hours in unplayed increments. Change is the real child’s toy of neglect. Even so you take rejection so hard. We can’t make out when the butter is on. My one wish: I want to play my synthesizer. I practiced raising a heron in the creek. Seen from above, you can’t quite decipher me. I am never going to get away from here. Break out the flux capacitor. My boredom is irreversible. I want to molest a field.

Brandon Brown


How are you going to be named “Greg Rich” and not be a total asshole? Forgive my jazal for this slip into immanence. Proper names are obviously meaningless, like paintings and optimism. Upchuck cruciform fruit squash. Gnashed paprika disco fail. This is a poem for the human mic. Psych. This poem greets that device like Kermit the Frog watching Reagan give a speech. Speaking of fascists, this miserable junior high school teacher Greg Rich tried to torment me by calling me “Brando.” The amputation of a final n whose substitutability after all equates me with one of the world’s most beautiful studs. Yelling Stellllllaaaaa! at a wrecked bus. Totally putting butter on your butt. Pure optimism. Like cutting off a pinky and thinking oh well, I’ve got 9 more. Because I’m better at life than Rimbaud I get to go to the swimming hole with my friends and drink sparkling Vouvray, surrounded by sandy tweens and no snakes. No mic checks. No end to the Vouvray. We all preened on this one big rock in the middle of the river, perched on the stone and washed by Vouvray, like, you know, Brando. It was glamorous in a way Greg Rich could never know, or anybody named anything even like “Greg Rich.” So what if ash sifts all over the tweens and proper names are suddenly meaningful. So the banks bloom. So my union bucks.

32 33

Rachel B. Glaser


karaoke is praying if you do it right biblical holograms of high school bedrooms your voice reflecting in the glass in a bar in a town where we had re-found each other they wheeled out the old songs, from when we were young with other people a little t.v. with words a person would go up sing good or sing weird Drew knew a way to sing a song about the song from within the song everyone laughed and dated their friends and what about the music we made in cars when no one was sitting shotgun no one carrying the radio like a football (snug) (well) no poetry looked so humble as the kind flowing up the screen the color moving left to right each word getting wet Drew found the center and squeezed he destroyed songs until they were just familiar embarrassing stories about yourself

Rob MacDonald


my girlfriend says wake up the street is leaking again and my eyes aren’t good yet but the cars are all floating away there’s no time for a shower she says so I drop bare feet into winter boots and wrap a jacket around my stupid ribs outside the neighbors pout in their lifeboats and I stand on the porch with a hand in my messy hair making it worse behind me someone says how are you going to fix the world this time when you can’t even brush your teeth hang on I say hang on I think last time there was a faucet in my basement just give me a minute to see but down in the basement what I see is that my hand breathing under the water is ready to be born this time

34 35

Maureen Thorson


It’s like kissing your sister through a screen door, like see-through fudge, like a verb, like being on the atkins diet, like taking romantic advice from a guy whose online handle is Meatsweats, like talking to children or a boat, like Tetris when the L-shape just won’t fit, like a virgin, like a fish-stand in the middle of a heatwave, like planning an invasion, like walking a catwalk to your own house and grass is growing all over the place and your little sister says “you’re fierce!”, like talking to another human, like finding out it’s hotter when the sun goes down, like making risotto, like a Segway for the circus, like having a secret, like an exploding parachute, like Spock, like broccoli, like coming home, like like or like like like?, like a frog in boiling water, like zombie insurance, like going back to college, like getting out of college, like manufacturing, selling uncut cocaine, like Canada, Budweiser, jumping out of airplanes, owning a dog, like an after-school special for adults, like Monopoly, like going to war with a fork, it’s like this.

John Northington


John Northington


Mitchell Hugh Kirkwood


There is some sound at the tabernacle. Tonight. SOUND AT THE TABERNACLE Nine –o-clock A mountainous woman sings songs of post-prom reflection from inside the belly of the nearest Tauntaun. Her belly is painted blue. She is wishing you were there but you dribbled on her pillow last night. You ruined an explicit photo with red ink. She gasped, “Humanism?” at the red ink on the photo from its’ corner. That’s when I tore down the poster and took off my belt. I told the mountain woman about the beauty in her raisin eyes. The belt fit tightly around her neck and she was removed from the Tauntaun. The other was sort of lost. A window licker, at the tabernacle. The sacred tent, and palace for Asimov’s eternity. You misunderstood what she was saying to her shoes and counted to four with your hips. That’s when I pushed you down the stairs. Cause you’re a dick, and fuck the Millennium Falcon. It’s totally impractical, and doesn’t run on corn. She thought you might follow her. Said she could feel you behind her, but it was just her booty or something.

38 39

Frederick Vorder-Bruegge


Zach Savich


Waited out rain in the ostrich part / have you seen my new eye whites tattoo? / no one pulls down their pants except to compare scars / you call that a scar? / a crate stuffed with old calendars / fake blood made of real saliva

40 41

Christopher Martin


There is only one way I could begin this poem is the way I’m beginning this poem. First you create a hole and then you fill it with something possessing its own hole and repeat. When Irigaray writes the dwelling of man is not built without hatred of nature she sees us in the hole. A bold step and then the pestilence of being in a hole. The persistence. In one hole and out of it into another. Like this: I wish I wish I wish. Not watching as the day holds out its rescue just falling, thump. The sky is a big fucking white telephone you pick up. It’s for you. Water’s complicated. It won’t stay outside. There’s a button called alive that I’m pressing with all

my brain so my heart will blurt out its convulsive word. Not wishwishwish but hereherehere. Carbon dioxide scraping the roof of my mouth and the back of my teeth and the top of my tongue to wash it off. Like that Black Star song. Both of us. Like cohere meant that. Like meaning was an awning that keeps light from burning us alive. Button. That keeps the rain of revelation from the holes we have to breathe through. Button. Roughneck weather of truth. Gutter flood where only the fearless place their paper boats. Button and who says that’s not just another hole? Everyone hates this roomless building; everyone but me. Poem animal twitching. Poor and ferocious nature shape. Keeping the sharp part inside. River: veracity: city 42 43

of no rooms. Water: terror: or wait for the next hole. I’m it on the gutter boat plunging my button. You’re paper my paper sail. Breath coming out of the hole must belong to demons. Only a starving demon could blow such must. Endless gutter river where we lost our awning. Give take the plunge with our fingers on the button. I just want your face when demon me starves. I can eat it very slowly. This is the natural way. Slow as sun corrupting glaciers. Slow as slag and cave purr. A manner of eating so slow we call it earthing. Black holing your face to stay awake. On this boat. Ocean button you finger in the black hole. Fracking away

at what sun left. Alive. Too alive. Lewd dwelling without rooms. Sure there’s a way in. What makes you think there’s one out? Oh yeah, desire.

44 45

Matthew Suss

FROM SUICIDE MOUNTAIN The sun & everything feels like shit. Our reality is an old man playing with an ax. The world is full of people doing whatever. I am a good person with a bad heart. Today I put glass pieces in a box of sweets. It was the biggest knife I’ve ever seen. The smell of unwashed sex, of mayonnaise. I’m making lasagna for one. I’m wondering what I do when I’m forty. My uncle hasn’t said a peep in thirty years. Sometimes it can feel like July in November in the heart. People should ornament so many unnecessary things. Girls should be in love instead of hunting. I tried hard to become a dolphin but it’s hard.

Lauren Stookey


46 47

Ryan MacDonald


“Excuse me sir,” said the cashier lady, “do you have your Price Chopper shopper card?” “No,” he said, hardly able to hear himself. Two cans of beans moved down the belt. He could feel his eyes on her. The two of them standing there became something more of themselves together. He bit his lip and prematurely punched in his Debit numbers. He felt something beneath his shoe, a hard candy of some kind. It sickened him and he kicked at it but it stuck to the floor. A faint smell of onions moved around them. The cashier lady felt tired. Her cat had died two days ago, and she still had four hours till the end of her shift. Her fingers had long curved nails that click-clacked on the keys as she typed in a code for the beans. Her nails transfixed him. He had never seen nails so long and round. ‘How does she manage with those things?’ he thought. ‘How does she change the station on her radio, or tie her shoes, or play her guitar, or wipe?’ he thought. He felt stupid for thinking these things- ‘her guitar?’ He closed his eyes and softly mouthed the words shut-up, as he was in the habit of doing when disappointing himself. As subtle as his gesture was, she had noticed. The beans were not to be found in the system. She pulled the receiver from the wall and her agitated voice echoed throughout the store, “can I get a price check on thirteen?” She watched him shift his weight from one foot to the other. She watched him stare down at her hands. She scanned the customers waiting in line behind him: a woman holding a child, a man in a green parka, hood pulled up, and a teenager with pink hair and rings in his nose and ears. She scanned the items on the belt: a chicken, a gallon of milk, Melba toast, ‘What the fuck is Melba toast?’ she thought. Greek yogurt, Coors Light, Corn Flakes, Mr. Pibb, brownie mix, tuna fish. The manager came trotting over with the correct code. She entered it and the manager trotted away. Carl re-slid his card. They all watched as the receipt printed out. She tore it off with grace and handed it to him. Carl bent forward, trying to get a closer look. On each nail was an extraordinarily delicate painting of a tiny scene: white horses grazed in gray fields growing on the slope of a mountain. The light was such that the moon was still out, but the sun was just coming up. The grass was carefully lined so that almost every blade looked drawn in and dewy, and over the field, a soft fog had begun to gather and form.

Kari Freitag


I am the president of the United States Let’s go to the park I am a professional wrestler Please don’t hit me I own many banks and am very rich The best thing ever is vanilla pudding with bananas I am a police horse My officer feeds me apples and calls me baby I am an earthquake Pay attention to me

48 49

Frederick Vorder-Bruegge


Scott Sweeney


Do you have a standard monolith? Is there one available for purchase by mail order? Is there an End of the World? When the Russian cosmonaut approaches the black rectangle of space, it is 2010 and, somehow, still the Cold War, and there is sudden light after decades of greed, slow-motion yawn of Reaganism, and the re-embodied ghost of Dave Bowman speeding back to Earth and its oil spreading over the seas. I am the red light eye.

From out in space,

I watch John Lithgow mouth a scream that I cannot hear.

I see

shrimp boats moving over the dark water one last time. I see you, shielding your eyes from the sun, hand to sweaty brow, flat and white as the sand. non-reflective cuboids are spinning

The black,

out of Jupiter—swallowing its color— its currency measured in units of 1:4:9, falling, pulling away to space. I am outer space, all of it. Much like the monolith, as Dave says, I am “as large as necessary.” Hold out your hand to me. magnetic, like the pulsar CP-1919,

I am

my radio waves sound like Joy Division’s “Disorder.” I am the dark chocolate bar

50 51

you can’t resist, even as you careen into a few degrees Kelvin—your pressurized suit the only barrier from eternity. Your mouth says, “No.” Your eyes say, “Da.” There is an End of the World, Helen Mirren. Discovery will not aid in your escape.

Frances Odim-Loughlin


Brownie, a male giraffe purchased from South Africa for 19,500 Cdn, died after running into a pole while trying to escape the sound of gunfire. Ruti, his pregnant partner who was traumatized by his death, miscarried her baby 10 days later. Brownie still remains at Qalqilya Zoo, Palestine. Stuffed and proudly wearing golf balls for eyes.


52 53

Brownie, a male giraffe purchased from South Africa for

Brandon Brown


Sometimes you have to kill what you thirst for most. Like those silver bugs sleeping in the quinoa. I wanted them to fold into the proteins of my body and animate what I think might be molding glaciers making the ribs cold. There’s yoga mat plastic in the McRib. Silver bugs in the quinoa doing this Dracula routine. Chris and I massacred them one by one like Thiers in Pere Lachaise only less evil. My organs pump blood and shit but kind of hate me. Can you imagine how Rick Santorum’s gall bladder must feel, keeping that Beelezebub’s bile concentrated? Miffed at management. Service with a smile. Like when you ask for a basket of McRibs to make your picnic gross. Pandering to grass. Woodpeckers in space. Barfing yoga. The novocained sex of my late period. Spastic, sleeping, silver, quilted moshing. I heard the words “general strike” come from the homeless shelter inside of me. And I quivered, spinning on a nightstick. Asking for a sick day.

Alex Rieser


that we played astronauts together in the backyard that once I threw a piece of glass and hit my god in the bottom lip that I apologized profusely I thought it was a rock and that it was cruel to throw a rock at my god when we pulled the glass from god’s bottom lip there was red coating the blue shard so much red god bled it was then that I knew I was made in the image of that that my god equipped me with a pinprick embedding the blue in my chest right there in that grassy backyard where so many harmful sharp things are buried

54 55

Sampson Starkweather


put on your best bikini bodies keep washing up on beaches we drink mimosas in the new world look out over a prairie of mechanical bulls thinking of simpler times when man had a healthy relationship with rubber & knew how to haggle what we forget is another history that goes on forever juice box I say sometimes for no apparent reason but we must go on like the twice-electrocuted horse that just got up and staggered away how does a giraffe pee anyway we’re going where there is no police

Ashley Bellinger


56 57

Matthew Suss


Key your exponential trajectory to the hypocenter of my candy. My proper imbibing cost me good breath. Only the dead are truly smart, truly cool. Daylight slides in the bloodstream. The mind snared in its diamond saliva. Sunk in superstition & ecstatic incest, I had a vision of the lizard god feeding upon itself with erudite fangs. It’s forever a wound if forever you feel it. Shave a heart into your head. Prepare your skeleton for the greatest glittering. The truer suicide is to keep living in the face of such nubile jailbait.

Rachel B. Glaser


and when cooking with olive oil I feel this pretty strong European-decadence feeling I’m not sure where I learned it is a boring life, but each text from an ex feels like the Uprising spiders spindle out the ancient past lovers fall into a liquid dream even in a dull life, bits cling to a better idea my neck hurts and I wonder about the pain it’s an Egyptian pain! I decide at once pleased as if I just personalized a web-pet when we don’t get invited out of our house we wildly clean our rooms in the hot, moldy hall we are prisoners but my hair dries right and I am royalty yesterday we were invited out and became naturally young and worldly laughing made us stretchy when it thundered we felt cozy and provincial today, inside like a bug and silent for hours I feel like a genius with social problems we put on Woody Allen and there is a new oldness to the room my hair frizzes, and I think oh, that’s so typical of me but I don’t understand what I’m saying I’m tired and there is an Old Testament quality to it because sleep is religious I’ve known this and forgotten and remembering is female there are the women of the past (brushing the hairs of a wild fire) and the women of the future (coolly zapping a dlonze) and these women are all represented in a graphic of lines the terrific logo on a shampoo bottle America is manufactured and my belongings are proud but there are times this slow life has no thoughts the associations shrivel the towels look truly pathetic my neck hurts and in no interesting way 58 59

Madeline Gallucci


Peter Davis


Oh humanity, you little furry monkey of hope, you giggling pulpit of monkey-ness, you crazy tightrope of primates! How I’ve loved you! How I love you! How I pull you close to me, sniffing your neck, detecting a whiff of your hairspray or perfume or something cosmetic! Humanity, you puffy tuft of fashionable hair, you are my muse, my confidant, my orchestra. You are my melon I bring home and slice into four equal quarters and distribute to my sons, each to his own, to his own, each, down the line until, indeed, even the seeds are equal. You have been very fancy but also somewhat reclusive. Your extravagance is only balanced by your thriftiness. We know of you and yet we can’t begin to fathom your particular dimension. O Humanity, the humanity! In the folds of the earth I begin to slip the edge of my pinkie, and the crease I feel is inevitably you. And as I try to smooth my hand free, what I find about freedom is its laundry-like nature. Like nature, you get deadlier! Yes, you Love Human Monkey! You totally fit Monkey of Real Trouble! You wingless monkey of flight! You, humanity-ridden teardrop of monkeydom! In each hour of my loneliness I thought of my brothers and sisters who slept in the depth of your hug. I dreamed of those siblings as a fence post nails the earth with jabby-ness. All through my desperate conceptions, I sensed you knew something you wouldn’t say. What was that, humanity? What were you to utter? You know when. You remember that time. Remember that time when you were as far from me as you are from me now? It was identical. And the roar, humanity, will fall into the sea. The deep beasts there will find a thing or two, but not you, because we’ll both be sleeping.

60 61

Sampson Starkweather


the sun still spends its fistfuls of money and we still waste our lives declaring beauty to the world a whisper inside a cheerleaders’ megaphone go humans go!

62 63

Patrick Wolf


CONTRIBUTORS Ashley Bellinger was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri and is currently a student of printmaking at the Kansas City Art Institute. Her interests include blowing smoke rings and listening to Green Day. She is inspired by psychedelic experiences, psychedelia and its vast, strange history. Benjamin Bourlier studied piano and composition at the University of Michigan, has written various chamber and orchestral works and four books of poetry and prose. His writing has appeared in Everypeople Workshop, Shampoo, HOUSEFIRE, Indiscretions. How there isn’t poverty without madness, how the insider commentary is always worded less, why this isn’t as brief as it could be. Brandon Brown’s first two books were published in 2011, The Persians By Aeschylus (Displaced Press) and The Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus (Krupskaya.) Poems and prose have recently appeared in Postmodern Culture, BPM, Model Homes, and Art Practical. He is from Kansas City and lives in San Francisco.

Peter Davis is the author of Hitler’s Mustache and Poetry! Poetry! Poetry!. More info at Marisa de la Pena’s current work revolves around the role of textiles and memory, with this I hope to recreate memories where I felt either secure or alone. I am currently finishing my BFA in Textiles at the California College of the Arts in Oakland. Andrew Erdrich & Max Crutcher are Sneaky Creeps. They’re a band. Max plays drums, Andrew plays guitar & they both do their fair share of yelling & talking. They met in college & now live together in Kansas City, Missouri. They’re cat’s name is Ginger Baker. If you want to know more or want to contact them use the internet. 64 65

Kari Freitag lives in Milwaukee with her boyfriend and cat. Her favorite food is guacamole. If she could live anywhere it would be on an alpaca farm in a coastal town. The best thing about her is her brunchability. Madeline Gallucci enjoys chitchat, lady cats, and weather maps. Originally from North Carolina, she is currently making work and living in Kansas City, MO. Rachel B. Glaser is the author of the story collection Pee On Water. She lives in Massachusetts and paints commissioned paintings of basketball players and loved non-athletes. Contact her at Matt Hart is the author of several books of poems, most recently Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless (Typecast, 2012). A co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, he lives in Cincinnati and plays in the band Travel. “In Love with the Sound� borrows its title from the song of the same name by The Saddest Landscape. Joshua T Howell brings together disparate (in both form and content) sources; shipping flags to dating women, Russian grenades to South English gas works, not in order to draw attention to the nature of culture, the mechanics of society or the systems on which we depend but to just possibly generate enough of a connection that a conversation can be furthered. Jules Itzkoff was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1991. He began a BFA in illustration at the Kansas City Art Institute in 2009 and, this year, was selected for the Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Competition in New York. He is currently taking a semester off to paint trains. Anna Kamerer is a junior in the painting and creative writing department at the Kansas City Art Institute. She was raised in Manhattan, Kansas and Wichita, Kansas, and a few places in between. Although she was never a Scout, she is the epitome of Girl.

Mitchell Hugh Kirkwood is from Kansas. As a recent graduate from the Kansas City Art Institute he spends his time writing, sculpting, and playing music. Just the other day he stole a pair of green pants from his girlfriend. He suspects that if everyone could play at least one Scott Joplin song on the piano the world would be a much more efficient place. Let the palm trees grow. Marianne Laury is from the St. Louis Loop. She has had over 40 stitches in her head, none were a result of her video stunts. She will receive her BFA in Sculpture from the Kansas City Art Institute in May 2012. Rob MacDonald lives in Boston and is the editor of Sixth Finch. His poems can be found in Octopus, notnostrums, esque, H_NGM_N and other journals. Ryan MacDonald is from Kansas City, MO and lives in Northampton, MA. He is pursuing an MFA in English from UMASS Amherst. His stories and videos can be found in The Continental Review, Notnostrums, Route 9, and elsewhere. Will Meier is an artist currently living in Kansas City. While continuing to work toward his BFA with a double major in Painting and Creative Writing, he enjoys quaint hobbies such as being a smug sarcastic asshole, etc. Frances Odim-Loughlin There is something in the unspoken subtlety of the everyday that interests me. It is not the consistency of banality that excites me, but its potential to be transformed. Personal stories are delicately interwoven into my practice in an attempt to address these secretive realms on a universal level. I secretly delight in unsettlingly social interaction, the ruinous nature of disorder and the emptiness of bleak landscapes. Annie Raab is a writer and sculptor living in Kansas City, MO. Christie Ann Reynolds is the author of Revenge Poems (Supermachine), idiot heart (The New School Chapbook Contest) and her first full length is forthcoming this summer with Coconut Books. Listen to her recordings at The Poetry Project, In-Digest, Listen Party and an interview at 66 67

TheThePoetry or check out poems and writing in Barrelhouse, Forklift, Ohio, Action, Yes!, Sink Review, Interrupture, LIT, Maggy, Everyday Genius and elsewhere. Christie Ann curates The Stain of Poetry Reading Series and the new film + poetry series, TOTEM. Alex Rieser is an MFA student currently living in San Francisco with his wife. He has published fiction, poetry, and criticism. His works have appeared most recently in Ploughshares and Esque. His chapbook Emancipator is available from New Fraktur Press. Zach Savich is the author of three full-length books of poetry, including The Firestorm, and a book of prose, Events Film Cannot Withstand. His latest book, Century-Swept Brutal, is forthcoming from Black Ocean. He teaches at Shippensburg University. Reid Sprague, 27, was born and resides in Leavenworth, KS. He spends the bulk of his time on various artistic endeavors, bicycling and drinking ice water. Sampson Starkweather lives in Brooklyn, NY and is a founding editor of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press. He is the author of four chapbooks that are impossible to find. Lauren Stookey lives and works in Kansas City, Missouri. She has been part of several group print exchanges and has exhibited both locally and internationally. She currently attends the Kansas City Art Institute, where she is an active member in the Printmaking and Creative Writing departments. She spends her free time serving pancakes at a local diner and mothering three rats. Matthew Suss lives in Amherst, MA. Scott Sweeney is the editor/publisher of Grey Book Press, and has published poems in a number of small-press and online journals. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife and daughter and two cats.

Paige Taggart is the author of three chapbooks: DIGITAL MACRAMÉ (Poor Claudia), Polaroid Parade (Greying Ghost Press), and The Ice Poems (DoubleCross Press). Additional publications and her jewellery can be found here: As well an audio recording of the poem can be found here, and downloaded: Maureen Thorson’s first book of poems, Applies to Oranges, is available from Ugly Duckling Presse. She lives in Washington, DC, where she co-curates the In Your Ear reading series at the DC Arts Center. She is also the poetry editor for Open Letters Monthly, an online magazine of book reviews and cultural criticism. Frederick Vorder-Bruegge, born in Memphis, Tennessee, is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute. Immersed in the urban and industrial landscape, he has participated in and completed many large scale outdoor murals. His time spent in these environments has, as the artist states, “always been in service to my studio practice.” Joshua Marie Wilkinson is the editor of The Volta and Letter Machine Editions, the director of a movie about Califone, and the author of seven books, including Swamp Isthmus (Black Ocean 2013) and The Courier’s Archive & Hymnal (Sidebrow Books 2014). He lives in Tucson, Arizona. Teal Wilson was born in the Southwest, moved to the Midwest, brought back to the Southwest, returned to the Midwest. She is a printmaker/image-maker at the Kansas CityArt Institute, Virgo, year of the Horse, rage rocket. She is hoping to do big things but the small things are just all right for now. Patrick Wolf was born and raised in the Lone Star State in a little blue house. Currently, he lives, laughs and loves in Kansas City, studying printmaking at the Kansas City Art Institute. Elisabeth Workman’s chapbooks include Opolis, Maybe Malibu, Maybe Beowulf 2 (available via, and Megaprairieland ( She lives and works at the Yeti Research Center in the North Country. 68 69



Sprung Formal #7  

Sprung Formal is the annual literary arts journal for the Kansas City Art Institute and this is issue number seven

Sprung Formal #7  

Sprung Formal is the annual literary arts journal for the Kansas City Art Institute and this is issue number seven